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News - June 2011

AdU's Electrical Engineers Push the Envelop with Solar-Enhanced Vehicle

Date Posted: Jun 2, 2011 at 03:33:06 AM

Adamson University is slowly making its way into the forefront of green energy use with its latest projects, developed by students and mentors for the Electrical Engineering (EE) department.


The pioneer project for this is Leepad, Adamson University’s first-ever solar power-enhanced electric vehicle. Leepad is a three-wheeled hybrid vehicle that looks similar to the popular compact hatchback sedans but smaller, holding only two passengers. The vehicle runs on electric power through its 4hp DC motor and a 200 amps, 12 volts battery, with the energy further bolstered by solar panels located inside the car. While the car runs at a speed of only 20 to 40 kilometers per hours, it is a fully functional car nevertheless, with a disc-braking system and continuous run time of two hours before needing to charge. A separate battery was placed for the vehicle’s other electrical parts.


Leepad was derived from the Tagalog word lipad, to fly, and was coined by Engr. Virgilio Lomotan, chairperson of the EE Department who mentored the ten fifth year EE students responsible for developing the vehicle. The vehicle was formally launched to the community last June 6 with a simple ceremony attended by University officials led by University President Fr. Gregg L. Bañaga Jr., C.M. and Fr. Francisco Nicolas Magnaye Jr., C.M., Vice President for Academic Affairs. In his welcome remarks Fr. Bañaga expressed his pride for the project and pledged to give the University’s help with future projects similar to Leepad. Fr. Magnaye in turn expressed his belief that with the launch of the project Adamson University “is home to inventors.” Fr. Bañaga also expressed his hope that perhaps, picking up from the EE Department’s solar power initiatives, the University’s buildings could one day draw their energy from the sun and asked the team not to stop developing projects like Leepad.


The solar-enhanced vehicle is the EE Department’s answer to Fr. Bañaga’s challenge of greening the University, a challenge he issued to the AdU community last school year. Engr. Lomotan and his students designed the vehicle in such a way that it would be efficient and with diminished carbon footprint: the battery can be charged through ordinary home outlets or by simply letting it stay under the sun. Being electric means that it does not produce noise and emissions, and does not waste energy when at rest unlike fuel-powered cars. While it took considerable effort and resources to build—the DC motor and motor controller were imported from the United States while the charge controller panels came from Singapore—the result of the team’s creativity and innovation is something that will be a bright mark for the University’s history.


Plans are now afoot to develop a larger vehicle and to commercialize the project, while the EE wizards are also gearing to develop a solar-powered motorcycle. Engr. Lomotan has also formed a new group of students who will continue the car’s developments. Yael Esperat